No one want's your shitty software, it's not a competitive edge. No one has ever been impressed by the software their TV comes with, and for every person that found your software easy to use, there is a thousand who are still trying to figure out what that one button does on their remote. You wanna know what people are care about? Picture quality. That's it. That's always been the key. I don't know why you constantly fail to understand that.
Why can't you just make a dumb screen? You know desktop monitors? Like that. No sound, minimal software, but if you really want to get fancy, maybe a nice small remote to turn it on and off. Everything else, from sound to color profiles can, and have already for years now, be handled by external devices smarter than you.
If you make this, and you focus on picture quality instead of figuring out ways to confuse and exploit the customer, I promise you, I absolutely promise you, every AV nerd I know will buy one. And they will love it. And they will recommend it, and share it, and buy them for their loved ones. And blog about it. Tweet about it. Podcast, vlog and sing about it.
And you'll disrupt the old model. You will be the company that brings about the next revolution in television. You've been looking to do that for so long haven't you? And while you always secretly knew it wasn't IPTV or 3D that was going to start the next revolution, what you didn't know is how easy it would be to disrupt the current incumbents.
The customer is waiting, cash in hand.
This seems like more of an extension of hardware manufacturers still not being good at software. I'd say Samsung's version of Android proves that they still aren't great at it (but are getting better).
That is a profoundly good idea. Let the TV manufacturer bundle all their "smart apps" stuff on USB-powered HDMI stick like a chromecast. Then five years down the line when the manufacturer has completely forgotten that the model even exists you can just spend $100 and get a modern one from some third party.
With HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) they can even integrate controlling the HDMI stick through the TV's remote for a completely seamless experience.
It's probably one of those ideas that is so good no manufacturer will ever do it though and we'll just be stuck with obsolete and forgotten software.
I still don't understand why "AppleTV" isn't just a dock for your phone with an HDMI tail and an IR receiver on the front... Maybe it's old fashioned of me to not use my phone while watching TV.
Chromecast has shown how very little you actually need connected to the TV in order to provide this kind of functionality though.
Personally I'll stick with an external device, as it means there's an endless line of companies waiting to pick up the baton, and if I don't find an off the shelf device, I can set up my own.
There's just no compelling reason to lock myself into whatever the TV manufacturer decides to provide.
Another personal anecdote, my father-in-law, who not 2 years ago was unaware of what Google was or how to use it, ordered a riding mower online for next day delivery. That's a large purchase made all of his life at a B&M which he was fine doing online. If someone reliable besides Lowes'/HD had a better price, they would've made the sale.
What makes the concept sound if the implementation certainly isn't?
> There are TVs with Hulu and Netflix just a few remote presses away - people want that.
Most Blu-ray players, game consoles, DVRs, etc come with Netflix and Hulu too. Why do I want my TV to do it when I have 5 other devices hooked up that can do it with a better UI? People already have these devices, so no, I don't think people want another, shittier, implementation.
> AV nerds are a small market by comparison.
Small, but like every nerd market, very vocal and very influential. Look at the best selling TVs on Amazon, they are all highly recommended in AV circles.
> This seems like more of an extension of hardware manufacturers still not being good at software. I'd say Samsung's version of Android proves that they still aren't great at it (but are getting better).
Remotes like this:
always remind me of this:
It's like the remote designer's revenge. "Too many buttons? I'll show you what it's like to not have buttons!" This remote literally has a button on it that brings up an on-screen picture of a remote that you use by swiping around on the trackpad, so you can get at the buttons your remote is missing.
I guess ultimately, I really don't care how ugly something is if it's at least consistent and informative. However, I know I'm an outlier in this.
Trying to cram everything into one panel has left us with nothing but the controls and very little space for information.
Also, even if you wanted that layout, the alignments are terrible and the use of frames is arbitrary and inconsistent.
Show me a remote that works better then that one and I can probably tell you why it sucks.
Buttons like that are an artifact of the days when TVs didn't have on-screen UIs. The remote should not be designed for the 1% of users that fiddle with such things.
Do heatmaps and find out which buttons are actually used frequently give those big clear buttons with unabbreviated labels, and move everything else into the menus.
And the menus themselves - you have a whole screenful of space, you can actually describe to the user what each option does in helpful detail.
I would like to hear you opinion.
Roku's first remote was very similar but had the same problem - no back button. If you're going to do interactive apps on your TV you need a back button and an exit or "home" button - they're two different things. The Apple remote assumes very limited input almost zero text input so no numbers or extraneous keys like the color keys.
My favorite remote close to the apple one was the Boxee 1 remote (it too needs an explicit back button). But the slim, pared down front side design with the full keyboard on the back was very slick and usable.
To be fair: UI (virtual and physical) is hard. Thus far, the AppleTV is my favorite but it's a "lesser of two evils" scenario.
It's purely meant as a mouse-and-keyboard thing, and in that vein it has some failures (the mouse-buttons are face-buttons instead of console-style triggers, and the keyboard lacks a way to use the F function keys)... but in general? I used its predecessor (the N9501 instead of N9502) and found the design lovely.
I could navigate my set-top PC easily with the trackball and mouse buttons, and when I needed to do text-entry I could hold it like a thumb keyboard. I even got pretty far in Cipher Prime's Auditorium with the trackball - it was quite pleasant for low-stress mouse-only games (as long as they only need click, not drag). The problem with my old version was that the trackball was not user-servicable (trackballs get dirty, fast) and it wasn't backlit.
The new one uses a touchpad and has backlighting.
A problem I see is that the tasks of set-top-boxes and displays are relatively constrained, so having a reduced input device seems like a good idea. But how to support free-text searching without a full keyboard (on-screen menus are painful) or having to deal with limited battery life due to a touchscreen?
For many consumers, any feature not accessible with a single button won't exist. It will be a major pain point. Having it be accessible as a sequence of actions or through a menu won't work.
Try doing usability testing with a few grumpy 65 year olds or people who have trouble operating a microwave. They are a larger market than you think.
Then those features don't exist, and that's fine. Is our hypothetical Luddite going to be switching audio streams to SAP? Playing with the picture-in-picture feature? Is he going to know what TTX/MIX means? DMA? E.MODE?
No. Undocumented features are also non-existent features. And for most users, the instruction-manual doesn't count.
It's a TV.
Give basic menu-nav buttons - 4 arrows, OK, Back, show/hide menu.
Give the basic TV tuner buttons - the 0-9 buttons, channel up/down, "Guide" menu button. There's the entirety of your TV facility. Guide needs arrow keys, but our main menu nav already provides that. We don't even really need a "Guide" button, "Guide" can be just be the default view of "Menu".
Volume control, input-selector for its functions as a monitor.
That's it. Notice something? None of those require horrifying abbreviations. We already have standard symbols for all of them. No unlabeled colored buttons. Most of those buttons don't even require words because they're so common we have symbols for them. We just covered all of Grandpa's uses - he wants to change channels and change the volume. We're done. Everything else? Your crazy abbreviated buttons are even more user-hostile than the menu, because at least entries in the menu have vowels.
You could easily cut 6 rows off the Samsung I used as an example and Grandpa would still be happy. Happier even because he's no longer confused about all these crazy weird tiny illegible buttons on his remote. You could even make a large-print version for him and it would be smaller than a dinner-plate.
The red button in particular is used in the UK for lots of TV services. It's not unusual to hear the phrase 'push the red button for X' on TV.
X is usually alternative video feeds of live/sporting events, or different sporting commentary
You can also use the red button for other information such as news headlines, the weather, sport scores. Grandpa uses this, youngsters have their phones and the internet
On that note, I somehow recall seeing TVs shipped with 2 remotes - the 'full one' and a simple one like you describe, with the expectation that people will choose which they prefer, and members of the same family might have opposite preferences.
So really, the Apple TV remote isn't that extreme. It's just a remote for an Apple TV set-top box and not a television.
Thats 99% of a remote usage, the rest is handled by any GUI.
I'd never want to be stuck with just an Apple remote.
You only have a few channels you like, and should be able to simply switch between them with a D-pad. But the cable industry's broken business model requires you to subscribe to an order of magnitude more than you want. Clunky set-top box UIs have you constantly paging up and down massive lists. A "favorites" system is nestled deep within some unintuitive menu, and never displays anyway when you go to the channel guide, always requiring more button presses followed by high-latency screen redraws. And thus, you're stuck dialing in a numeric code like it's 1968.
I'm sure you'd be ecstatic to be stuck with an Apple remote, if only the entire rest of the TV experience were up to speed with it.
2) Good God, nobody wants to enter "3-digit codes". Your 100+ channels fit into a regular grid, with, you know, pictures. So I can actually see what's what, without remembering that "124" is "shitty shopping channel #16".
Said grid can be navigated quite quickly with a d-pad. If it was just a regular grid of, say, 12x12 entries, you can reach any entry in 12 clicks. (Assuming your UI does the smart thing and wraps)
3) If you had a better interface, like e.g. categorization, you could do with less than 12 clicks. Optimally utilizing the 4 directions, 4 clicks would do. You'll probably need one or two more, but it's fairly straightforward
4) If the UI designers had paid any attention to decent UIs, they'd be aware of such nifty inventions as "Favorites" and "Recently visited", which means even less key strokes.
5) Can we already ditch the "dedicated remote" nonsense, even the Apple one, and admit pretty much every household has some sort of Wifi enabled touch screen in their home? E.g. a much better device for your UI?
They control the screen, the software, and the controller, same as Apple. They're just not as good at it as Apple.
I don't like Apple - I don't like the horrifying complete lock-in of hardware/software/media. But I admit something: Apple wins because they're the best. Period.
Shame LG seem intent on ruining it with the spying, I hope they have a change of approach and resolve this.
They're obvious only in hindsight.
I plan to keep using my TV for at least 10 years and probably rather longer. There is no chance any of the "smart" BS will still be useful then. (Imagine you had a "smart" TV in 2004 that, say, updated your Myspace page.)
Obviously as far as the manufacturer is concerned, they'd rather I buy a new TV after 4 years so I can get new "smart apps" and yada yada yada, but anyone who does research isn't going to fall for that.
The hardware is there, it can run stuff and show videos just fine, but the manufacturer refuses to update it. It really pisses me off since it's a nice panel with great picture quality.
The rate of change of the "smart" technology is far greater than that of the actual video display. That is, I expect that the TV will continue to work for displaying video for many years, but the cycle time for "smart" services is currently months or very few years.
Thus, to keep current with the ability to display content, I'd need to dump a display system that's perfectly good.
Better to separate the modules. Have a really good display system, and separate, a smart device that handles content. That smart device can be dead-simple to install and to operate, and still do a great job (like Roku).
This may or may not be Android, which is kind of the problem. The most likely contenders here (Apple, Google, MS, Sony) have a dog in the race & incumbent problems. They committed to an approach or a technology too early. They have a market (eg itunes), complementary products or ecosystems to protect.
What does TV software really need in order to be significantly better than the average smart TV? A handful of core apps (Youtube, Netflix), some local ???Players (these could be introduced market by market) and some experimental/novelty apps (eg Skype, spotify). That's it. That's a good start. Crappy games and access to 99 upstart content marketplaces is not necessary. An app marketplace could come second.
*Vanilla android is not the answer. If it's going to be android it needs to be android for TV.
What you're describing though is currently what the Apple TV is like. It comes with Netflix, Youtube and a bunch of other apps (sports stuff, a few music services, etc). It's missing an app store - but there's a pretty decent chance that will arrive at some point over the next few years (there are so many apps on there at this point that it's becoming a little cluttered, so I think it's coming sooner rather than later).
Even though Apple has iTunes, their primary business is hardware and they don't seem to have an issue with putting iTunes competitors on there.
Of course, the Apple TV has a long way to go. It's still pretty much a hobby project (although recently it's getting more and more updates).
I wish the YouTube interface was better though, but with the new AirPlay stuff, it's becoming less and less of an issue. Very neat, if you have all the bits for the full "ecosystem" (up until I did, it was a lot more painful and got less use).
Android on the TV is like Windows XP on your phone right now. It's cool that it's possible, but very obviously not what it was intended for. Android for TV (whether or not it is based on Android) needs to be designed for the job.
The Apple TV is problematic in that it can't come bundled with your TV. Part of what I mean by 'Android for X' is that Samsung can put it in their products and build their strategy around it.
A good hardware peripheral should be able to provide those services. Just give me an airmouse with a drag-scroll joystick and a keyboard when I need it. The problem is that most hardware vendors trying to hit this market are serious lowest-common-denominator companies - fly-by-night Chinese manufacturers and whatnot. Sony did it too, but they stuck it to the stillborn Google TV OS.
Take it away from the TV division and get somebody who designs controllers to make the remote. Get the Playstation guys on this. A hybrid between the PS3 Move Controller and this thing:
That said, a simple clean airmouse is so much nicer than the zillion-button monstrosities of traditional TV remotes.
To be fair, a lot of that is software, too, nowadays. Upscaling without visible artifacts? Figuring out what the optimal backlighting should be? Adaptive blurring? Motion blur compensation? All done in software.
A large part of the problem, I think, is that tv companies, traditionally, let the hardware engineers who write that software add a menu structure, because they are programmers, and all programming is programming, isn't it? I do think things are a lot better than they were 5 years ago, but could be a lot better still.
No one would argue that signal processing and the stuff traditionally known as "firmware" has a valid purpose. It's the stuff that arises when an executive get a boner for a "product vision" that people don't want or need. It's the kind of trash that looks alluring on a list of bullet points, but gets turned over every 24 months because it's utterly void of any substance, and only got produced at the whims of some empty suit trying to prove his worth.
I also think that t.v. manufacturers _must_ try to improve their offering with features not directly related to image or audio quality; there is no margin in plain television sets and too few get sold (one every 4-5 years per family vs one smartphone every two years or so per person). Problem is not that they try, but that they don't succeed. In that sense, there is an opportunity for someone with an Apple-like approach to enter the market.
Of course I want a new firmware board for my 5 year old HD TV which sends the wrong resolution data to my pc, has a terrible SD UI, and doesn't decode HD OTA signals, but it's not going to be cheaper than buying a new TV
Edit: You can get big, dumb TVs that look stellar. Look at TVs targeting the commercial space. Of course, you're going to pay for it though.
(I bought her a Roku 3 but it was returned due to hardware errors so she's been using the TV system since)
(In case it wasn't clear... you are not the only market segment. Neither am I.)
1. I cannot easily distinguish between SD and HD screens. I would much rather have a faster frame rate or better sound quality or an easier way to legally access international TV channels. Better picture quality? I don't care for that any more.
2. My (non-technical) housemate plans to upgrade his TV to one with built-in software, because he thinks it will be an improvement on the buggy set-top box software and he won't need to worry about cabling and upgrading external devices. He has no interest in HD either, but he is happy to pay for a TV with better picture quality simply because he imagines that paying more for a TV means he'll get better software.
I just returned a Nexus 5 because it had poor reception compared to other phones using the same SIM card.
I was going to buy a LG G2 but having just seen how you treat your TV customers as cattle, I won't touch anything from LG for the forseeable future.
In a nutshell, LG, you lose my money.
Most people care about how big it is and much it cost, hench why LCDs beat out Plasmas.